Psychostimulant drugs addiction is a chronic public health problem and individuals remain susceptible to relapses increasing public expenses even after withdrawal and treatment. Our research group has focused on finding new therapies to be employed in drug addiction treatment, suggesting the physical exercise as a promising tool. This way, it is necessary to know the mechanisms involved in the beneficial influences of physical exercise observing the pathway that could be explored in drug addiction treatment. Male Wistar rats were conditioned with amphetamine (AMPH) following the conditioned place preference (CPP) protocol and subsequently submitted to swimming for 5 weeks (1 h per day, 5 days per week). Half of the animals were injected with Naloxone (0.3 mg/mL/kg body weight, i.p.) 5 min prior each physical exercise day. After AMPH-CPP re-exposure, our outcomes showed that physical exercise, in addition to minimizing the relapse behavior in the CPP, it increased D1R, D2R and DAT in the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA), but not in the Nucleus accumbens (NAc). Interestingly, while naloxone inhibited the partial beneficial influence of the exercise on drug-relapse behavior, exercise-induced changes in the dopaminergic system were not observed in the group administered with naloxone as well. Based on these evidences, besides reinforcing the beneficial influence of the physical exercise on AMPH-induced drug addiction, we propose the involvement of endogenous opioid system activation, not as a single one, but as a possible mechanism of action resulting from the physical activity practice, thus characterizing an important therapeutic approach, which may contribute to drug withdrawal consequently preventing relapse.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Inc.